Kettering man arrested in White House crash

Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 @ 5:53 PM
Updated: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 @ 5:53 PM

            Photo: Courtesy YouTube
(Photo: Courtesy YouTube)

A Kettering man crashed a Jeep into a security perimeter and then jumped the fence at the White House because he wanted to spray-paint the Revolutionary War-era “Don’t Tread on Me” snake on the grounds, authorities said in court documents Tuesday.

The man, identified in federal court documents as Joseph Reel, 32, of Kettering was charged with destruction of government property after the incident in the predawn hours of Sunday.

Reel’s wife, Rebekah Reel, told the Dayton Daily News Tuesday night she was shocked when U.S. Secret Service agents showed up at her apartment at 6 a.m. Sunday and confiscated her computer. It was the first Rebekah knew of where her husband was located since he left Thursday morning after they got in a fight the night before.

“It sounds nothing like my husband,” said Rebekah, 26, who added Reel was an ex-Army medic who served in the Iraq war.

The Secret Service said Reel, who records show is a registered Republican who voted in the November general election, went to elaborate lengths in his quest to breach White House security so he could leave behind his political message, according to a CNN report.

Reel told officers that he conducted “surveillance” of the White House complex on Saturday “looking for a way in.”

Sunday, about 3 a.m. he returned in a Jeep Patriot, according to the charges. He attached a wood block to the accelerator and set the vehicle on its way — unoccupied — ramming into a light post, a bicycle rack and a steel security bollard at 17th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue, which is the northwest corner of the White House complex, according to CNN.

A short time later, according to court records, Reel rode up on a bicycle and climbed over a fence at the north courtyard of the Old Executive Office Building, just west of the White House itself.

He was carrying a can of spray paint, which he dropped as he fled Secret Service agents, the court records allege.

The documents say Reel wasn’t armed when he jumped the fence. But they say investigators found 200 rounds of ammunition, eight knives and two machetes in the Jeep, which caused about $1,000 in damage.

Reel will appear in court on Thursday.

Rebekah said Reel had never voiced animosity toward President Barack Obama.

“We never talked about things like that,” she said.

Rebekah described her husband, who grew up in Franklin, as a quiet guy and said she did not know he left the state following their fight. He worked as a security guard at a local business.

She said she was worried about her husband “like any loving wife would be.”

The couple, who has been married since September 2012, has a four-month-old son.

Asked if she was going to Washington, D.C. to visit Reel, Rebekah said, “Until we know what is going on, we don’t plan on doing anything. I plan on staying here with my son.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Wright Patt, businesses collect relief aid for storm hit Puerto Rico

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 7:08 PM

            Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employees collected hurricane relief aid for Puerto Rico. CONTRIBUTED
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employees collected hurricane relief aid for Puerto Rico. CONTRIBUTED

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employees and several businesses gathered 120 pallets of hurricane relief aid items to ship to Puerto Rico still reeling from the strike of powerful Hurricane Maria against the U.S. territory a month ago, an organizer says.

“The Dayton community came through big time,” said Tony Ortiz, an Ohio Attorney General employee who coordinated with area businesses and base employees to roll out a “Convoy of Hope” of semi-tractor trailers filled with aid. “This is a great feeling.”

RELATED: Ohio National Guard deploys more troops to hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico

The Convoy of Hope will meet with trucks in Cleveland, Youngstown and Moraine and the supplies were expected to be flown to Puerto Rico.

The need remains great: Less than 20 percent of island residents have had power restored since the storm and the death toll has climbed to nearly 50.

RELATED: Wright Patt hurricane relief flights expected to fly for weeks

As many as one million Puerto Ricans do not have clean water to drink and many hospitals continue to operate om generator power as the tropical heat soars.

WHIO-TV’s Kate Bartley contributed to this report

Former jail medical director admits to stealing drugs

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 4:21 PM

            Brenda Ellis
Brenda Ellis

The former top medical officer at the Montgomery County Jail was booked into the jail in August and later agreed to treatment in lieu of conviction on charges of theft and theft of drugs.

Dr. Brenda Ellis was booked on Aug. 24 and accepted into a diversion program on Aug. 29, according to a prosecutor’s office spokesman.

RELATED: County blames health care provider for jail inmate’s injuries

Ellis was the medical administrator at the jail and worked for the company NaphCare, which provides inmate medical services at the jail through a contract with the county. Under the current NaphCare contract, the county will pay the company up to $3.55 million a year through 2019.

Contacted this week, Ellis declined to comment.

The allegations against her followed a State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy investigation into improper handling of controlled substances at the jail from 2011 to 2015.

RELATED: Montgomery County Jail health care provider faces discipline

In July, the state pharmacy board reached a settlement agreement with NaphCare that called for the company to pay the board $7,000, provide more staff training and remove Ellis as the person responsible for compliance with the jail’s pharmacy license.

“NaphCare agrees to never use Dr. Ellis as a Responsible Person on any of its Ohio licenses,” the agreement states.

As part of the agreement, the company neither admitted nor denied fault.

Bradley Cain, spokesman and general counsel of Alabama-based NaphCare, said in an interview Wednesday that the company was unaware of the allegations against Ellis but that changes were made to address the issues identified by the pharmacy board.

SPECIAL REPORT: Justice in the Jailhouse - Lawsuits, accusations plague county jails in the region.

“We have made implementation of changes based on the settlement agreement we entered into with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy,” Cain said. “Everything outlined in that agreement we’re in compliance with today.”

Cain said the company has contracts with jails in Montgomery, Franklin and Hamilton counties and has had no problems at other facilities.

Ellis resigned from NaphCare on July 31 and is no longer allowed access to the jail, according to Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office officials.

No formal action has been taken against Ellis’ medical license, according to the State Medical Board of Ohio. Medical board records say she has had a license since 1989 and has specialties in general practice and pediatrics.


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School named after Confederate president to be renamed after Barack Obama

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 4:43 PM

School Named After Confederate President To Be Renamed After Barack Obama

A Mississippi school that was named after a Confederate president is to be renamed next year after former U.S. President Barack Obama after an Oct. 5 vote by the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees.

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Davis IB Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi, has operated for years under the namesake of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. But by the time the 2018-2019 academic year rolls around, the school will be renamed Barack Obama Magnet IB Elementary School.

The decision was announced Tuesday after months of discussion. Parents of students who attend the school, including PTA President Janelle Jefferson, expressed excitement and approval, saying the new name is more appropriate for the school, which has a population of 97 percent black students.

“Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him,” Jefferson said, according to The Clarion Ledger.

Jefferson said the new name reflects “a person who fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves.”

The decision came soon after the Mississippi State Board of Education requested Gov. Phil Bryant declare Jackson Public Schools in a state of emergency for lack of certified teachers and proper procedures, among other issues, Newsweek reported. If Bryant approves the request, the school board will be disbanded, according to The Clarion Ledger

The potential for the disbandment led board members to encourage PTA members at three schools in the Jackson Public Schools system to consider renaming at a hastened pace. 

There’s no word on the renaming developments of two other schools in the county: George Elementary, named after Confederate Gen. James Zachariah George, and Lee Elementary, named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

As of January, at least 19 U.S. schools had been named after Obama, according to Education Week.

Bridge used by 20,000 vehicles a day coming down for safety reasons

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 4:46 PM

            The Keowee Street Bridge over the Great Miami River will close in December of this year. A construction bid of $8.8 million has been awarded to Eagle Construction for a new bridge and demolition of the existing bridge. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
            Ty Greenlees
The Keowee Street Bridge over the Great Miami River will close in December of this year. A construction bid of $8.8 million has been awarded to Eagle Construction for a new bridge and demolition of the existing bridge. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

A bridge that 20,000 vehicles use daily between Harrison Township and the city of Dayton will be demolished and rebuilt because of safety concerns, Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner said.

The Keowee Street Bridge over the Great Miami River will close in December, or as soon as the new Helena Street Bridge is opened.

Eagle Construction’s bid of $8.8 million has been awarded for a new bridge and demolition of the existing bridge, which will take place first.

MORE: Graffiti targeting minorities, women, Muslims, Jews found at Wright State

The Keowee Street Bridge is the last of the filled arch bridges in Montgomery County.

The bridge is structurally deficient according to Gruner.

“It’s in very poor condition. There’s pieces of concrete falling off onto the bike path and into the river. It needs to be done for the safety of the public,” Gruner said.

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The new bridge will be wider and is being designed to “accommodate the needs of the rowing community. The spans are longer. They’ll be able to pass two skulls underneath, side-by-side. The project will take about two years, or, two construction seasons.” Gruner says.